Niwa: Sweet spring expected

Last updated 10:50 01/08/2014

Springing ahead: Taranaki's Hudson Simons, 22 months, checks out the daffodils already growing at the bottom of Marsland Hill in New Plymouth.

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A warmer than usual spring is predicted for eastern New Zealand with average or above average temperatures likely for the rest of the country, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

Chances of an El Niño weather pattern developing over spring was decreasing, which typically caused drier conditions in eastern areas and more rain in western areas of the country, it said in its latest seasonal climate outlook report.

''The behaviour of the atmosphere over the next month or two will be critical to whether an El Niño event initiates or not.''

El Niño events typically reached their peak during summer in New Zealand and were related to stronger or more frequent westerly winds over the country.

''It is not uncommon for El Niño events to start late in the year (after June), but those that do tend to be weaker.''

NIWA's regional predictions included: Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty were likely to have average to warmer than average temperatures and normal to above normal rainfall.

Central North Island, Taranaki, Wanganui, Manawatu and Wellington were likely to have average or above average temperatures and average to below average rainfall.

Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa were most likely to have warmer than normal temperatures and were likely to have normal to above normal rainfall.

Nelson, Marlborough and Buller were likely to have average to warmer than average temperatures and normal to below normal rainfall.

West Coast, Southern Alps and foothills, inland Otago, Southland, coastal Canterbury and east Otago were likely to have average to warmer than average temperatures and normal rainfall levels.

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